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Andy Harris
Motoring and Property Editor
@ytimesmotoring
4:00 AM 5th February 2022
cars

Mazda’s Popular Family SUV Gets A Makeover

For 2022 Mazda has chosen to update its popular CX-5 model. An invite to put it to the test on exciting Scottish roads was eagerly accepted. The icing on the cake would be a night’s stay at one of Scotland’s loveliest hotels, Cameron House, which sits proudly on the banks of Loch Lomond.

So, what’s new? External changes are subtle, with revised front and rear bumpers and new lights aiming to give the car amore modern and sharper look.

In the UK we will have a choice of 20 models and five trim grades. The ‘Newground’ model is well, new! It features a slightly more rugged look with silver underguard trims and lower body side skirts, black door mirrors and 19-inch diamond cut alloy wheels.

Lime green accents in the grille are replicated inside with lime green air vent louvre trims, and black leatherette seats have matching green piping. It is only available with the 165PS petrol engine, probably the best.

The top seller is predicted to be the Sport model which comes with a choice of two other engines as well – a 150PS petrol and a 184PS diesel, which may make some sense for the very high mileage driver.

Automatic and manual gears are available throughout the range. The self-shifter goes about its job efficiently and for those who prefer a three-pedal set up, the light clutch and slick shift will impress.

All-wheel drive is offered on some models and the system now benefits from a dedicated Off-Road mode, which aims to make the driving feel more natural on unmade and slippery surfaces.

The CX-5’s safety features have been updated across the range, with the addition of Cruise and Traffic Support which should help reduce driver fatigue by assisting with accelerator, brake pedal and steering operations when stuck in traffic jams.

The interior certainly impresses with the quality of materials and the comfortable seats. Equipment count is high too.

The cabin is pleasantly hushed, even at motorway speeds with very little wind or road noise making their presence felt.

Although the touchscreen is now bigger, it can also be controlled by a rotary knob between the seats. The graphics are somewhat dated which is a shame.

Mazda has always eschewed the turbocharging route, preferring instead to use larger capacity engines to improve performance. The result are cars that don’t feel as eager as some of the main rivals, needing more revs to do their best work.

The CX-5’s ride comfort is a mixed bag. At town speeds, it feels overly stiff, with deeper ruts making their presence felt in the passenger compartment more than is ideal. Once free from urban confines, it feels more complaint.

I am not sure anyone buys a Mazda SUV to be thrilled on their favourite section of twisty B-road, that’s the MX-5’s job. Let me just say that safe and surefooted best sum up the CX-5’s performance, with grip aplenty if you choose a car with the all-wheel drive system.

So, how best to sum up the CX-5? The revisions to the range are undoubtedly worthwhile and there is much to commend. The quality of the interior and the refinement are both excellent, but is that enough? With no hybrid version on offer, the company car user who is taxed on emissions is still likely to look elsewhere, so private buyers only then.

The ‘Newground’ model may well be the pick of the range.

Fast Facts

Mazda CX-5 2.0 165PS 2WD Newground
Price £29,145
Zircon sand metallic paint add £580
165PS 2.0-litre petrol engine
Six-speed manual gearbox
0-62mph in 10.5 seconds
Top speed 125mph
Combined economy 41.5mph
Emissions 153g/km CO2
BIK 34%
Towing capacity 1,800kg (braked)